The debate on who controls District Six after an “agreement” was struck with national government last month is heating up.
Cape Town - The debate on who controls District Six after an “agreement” was struck with national government last month is heating up.

The provincial ANC accused the standing committee on human settlements of lying and making baseless claims on behalf of the provincial executive on District Six.

Last month, the standing committee said an “agreement” was reached between the provincial standing committee on human settlements and the Department of Rural Development to transfer the budget for District Six to the Provincial Department of Human Settlements.

A day later, the department denied such plans existed.

“If such commitments were made, they would be made to the provincial government first before they are disclosed to the committee.

“National government can’t make commitments to the standing committee that it did not make to the provincial government. Were such commitments made, they would be communicated by the provincial and national government first, not the standing committee. The standing committee is not government,” ANC spokesperson Yonela Diko said.

Diko said this was a clear indication that the standing committee did not see itself as a neutral player on behalf of the people but as an extension of the executive.

“It is clear that this is a gross misunderstanding of the standing committee’s constitutional mandate.

“By releasing that misleading and misguided statement, we are exactly where the steering government wanted us, a state of confusion, where it seems the District Six community is caught up in political battles between a DA-run province and an ANC-run national government.

“The ANC MPL must study this callous and dangerous play by the chairperson of the standing committee, Matlhodi Maseko, and if necessary, take her to court in her personal capacity. She consulted no one before speaking on behalf of the committee,” he said.

Tania Kleinhans-Cedras, chairperson of the District Six Advocacy group, is calling for urgent accountability.

“There needs to be accountability on the record and why the national government has carte blanche on District Six.”

She gave a “stern warning” that they were planning to fast-track their legal process.

“We are going to speed it up because when we approached national government for clear answers they did not provide them to us and the department is trying to get away with this. Someone has to be held accountable,” she said.

A court battle is looming between the department and landowners who are still waiting to be compensated for their properties.

They have, as a last resort, approached the court as they want to be compensated for two massive developments under way in the area.

Matlhodi Maseko said: “It’s been 23 years since they said they were going to develop District Six, and to me they are just blaming the standing committee while the claimants are trying to recollect their lives.

“And it makes me angry. We have invited the minister again to appear in front of the standing committee later this month and, if she does not appear, we will be taking the necessary steps to make sure that she comes.”

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Cape Argus